Causative Verbs in Latin


Senior Member
English - Mid-Southern US
Salvete Omnes,
Not long ago I was beginning to "collect" verbs in Latin that appeared to be passive in meaning without having passive forms--a sort of opposite of deponents. They were actually active verbs which could be contrasted with similar verbs which carried the meaning "to cause to -----." I have since learned that the latter are called "causatives." When I googled this, I found a 2013(!) post asking about Latin causatives which was not adequately answered. So, here are the few that I know about, with dual definitions showing how I could have interpreted those active verbs as a kind of passive of the causatives!

cadere / to fall / to be cut down

caedere / to cause to fall / to cut down

fugere / to flee / to be routed

fugare / to cause to flee / to rout

iacere (long e in infinitive, iaceo) / to lie / to have been thrown

iacere (short e in infinitive, iacio) / to cause to lie / to throw

pendere (long e in infinitive, pendeo) / to hang (intrans.) / to be suspended

pendere (short e in infinitive, pendo) / to cause to hang / to suspend

sedere / to sit / to be calmed

sedare / to cause to sit / to calm

What I would be very interested in is finding more of these causative verbs.
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  • Causative

    New Member
    I've been reading Jerome's "Psalterium iuxta Hebraeos", a 4th-century translation of the Psalter, and I've found several Latin verbs that I'd consider to have causative valence. Consider, for instance, the phrase from the well-known Psalm 23 (Vulgate # 22):

    " pascuis herbarum adclinavit me."

    This sure seems like a causative construction to me.

    Comparing that with the original Hebrew (bin'ot deshe yarbitseini), I glean a causative meaning. Certainly the common English translation "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures" (KJV) is causative.

    According to my Oxford Latin Dictionary, acclino = "to cause to lean on."

    Likewise, inclino is "to cause to lean".

    I wonder: What is it about the CLIN- word root and/or derived verbs that has a causative meaning?


    Senior Member
    English - Mid-Southern US
    Perhaps it is just that is transitive. But one of the translations of the original Greek klino* (of which the Latin compounds are either cognate or derivative) is to cause to slope or bend. And when we say in English "I am inclined to..." the construction is passive, isn't it, showing that "I" have been caused to bend toward something
    *dang, where are the Greek letters in this thing?


    New Member
    Good point...

    Transitive. pascuis herbarum adclinavit me. = ...He acclines me in pastures of grass(es).

    I guess we just don't have a single-word equivalent for adclino/acclino in modern English.


    Senior Member
    saluete amici!

    Despite some thought on the matter, I cannot immediately add to Snodv's 'collection'—assembled already nearly two years ago. But I can point to some comparable specimens in English (forms given intransitive first, transitive second):

    to bleed
    to blood

    to fall
    to fell

    to lie
    to lay

    to rise
    to raise

    to sit
    to set/to seat

    'to hang' is an interesting one. Intransitively it conjugates 'hang', 'hung' 'hung'. But transitively (with reference to capital punishment) 'hang', 'hanged, 'hanged'.



    Senior Member
    English - Mid-Southern US
    I was thinking of a few of those just recently. Odd--and fascinating-- how the same phenomenon occurs in both languages, but only in a small sampling of each.